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Observations Reading

Book Recommendations.

In an effort to post more often (and why not start on the first day of the year?), allow me to recommend some books. I read these books in 2012. You may wish to read them in 2013.

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti (Rokeach)
This non-fiction book describes a research study a psychologist conducted at Ypsilanti State Hospital during the 1960s. Three male patients each believe that he is Jesus Christ. The psychologist asks the three men to meet with each other regularly. He wonders if the constant confrontations of identity will resolve their delusions. The book chronicles these meetings and the outcomes.

Readers also learn about psychiatric institutions, wonder if the three men would be sent to an institution in modern times (I suspect not), and consider the ethics of psychiatric treatment, both then and now.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer (Meadows)
This non-fiction book describes the components and behaviors of systems. It may not sound interesting, but examples from the book may reveal the reader’s tendencies to look at events from the point of view of an individual. For readers who already view events from systems’ aspect, the book reinforces that perspective.

It is easy to blame individuals for problems, both in our personal lives and across society. For those of us who believe that people do their best under any given circumstances, viewing problems from a systems’ perspective helps us improve those circumstances. Individual people will then hopefully experience less blame and stress. Thinking in systems cultivates a holistic viewpoint, which builds community and helps us work together towards desired outcomes—and not just outcomes related to productivity and cost savings.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Demick)
This non-fiction book[1. I do occasionally read fiction, though after reading Harry Potter (in 2012—I’m not exactly fashionably late), I apparently had to take a break. I read The DaVinci Code in 2012… and you will notice that it is not on this list.] follows the lives of several people living in North Korea. The author does an excellent job reminding readers of the freedoms and wealth we have in democratic countries. The book is disturbing, sad, and informative.

Morita Therapy and the True Nature of Anxiety-Based Disorders: Shinkeishitsu (Morita)
Much of my training as a psychiatrist was based on ideas of mind from Western thinkers. Morita Therapy was developed by a physician in Japan. As with other Eastern-influenced therapies, Morita therapy focuses on the practice of acceptance of self and “reality”. There is also a strong focus on behavioral interventions. Morita and Freud lived around the same time and the contrast in philosophies is interesting (e.g. there is no mention of penis envy in Morita’s text).

If you have any book recommendations for me, let me know on Twitter or Facebook.